Occasionally we come across one heck of a timepiece, this all-original survivor has an ever expanding story:
Just from the images you can understand the significance of this watch, dig a little deeper and the story starts to get ever more remarkable.
As we have stated on our website the history of the trenchwatch is not the first time a watch was worn on the wrist. However it was the beginning of the acceptance of a watch being worn on the wrist. Before this time in history, wearing a wrist watch was not so poular and also not so reliable. The watches that came out in the war were far from what we regard today as an everyday timepiece, this one is the start of that trend.
It was a popular design of the time and not an unusally hard to come by trench watch. The "Pillow Case" design of the case made of sterling silver was not unusual nor were its radium dial or hands. The true rarity of this watch comes from what is inscribed on it and ultimately the incredible journey its owner took this watch on.
You can find a trenchwatch quite easily with a quick look on the internet. The major issue that one faces is authenticity and also condition. Find one with an engraving on it aids in adding to its provinance but doesnt mean its the real deal.
This is a true war watch...
As we cannot guarantee 100% with any of our orignail timepieces, we can only give credible information on the facts that we have available to us and also from the written reports of where these soldiers were stationed. With the help of the National World War One Museum and our continuing reasearch into this watch, this is what we have so far on this rare beauty:
Captain Rufus G. Vaughan was already an officer when the outbreak of the first world war started. At this point in his career, he was stationed at Camp Funston in Leon Springs Texas. He was in the 36th Quartermasters Core and his division was made up of Texas and Oklahoma National guard units.
Although I have a differing stories from the previous owner, records that we have collected indicate thathe was deployed to France in July of 1918 and served at the front in September of that year.
There is some speculation on the movements of this unit at this time as we are awaiting service records. Originally we were told that this watch was involved in the battle of Battle of Belleau Wood. however with help from the Texas Military Forces museum we were able to hit a goldmine of documentation which you can view above that this unit was involved in the Meuse-Argonne offensive.
It appears that Vaughn and this watch (given the date on it) were involved for 20 days in the Meuse-Argonne. As this verified documentation shows from his application of a Victory medal in 1920 it appears his service abruptly ended but currently are looking for further details on his service.
As we are still collecting information, it will take time to learn more and put all of the pieces of this puzzle together. What we do know for certain is that Vaughan returned on the USS Santa Rosa from St. Nazarine, France. An image of that ship we were able to find and attached above!
This is the farthest we have ever come in the research on an original time piece. The watch is currently running on time and is in almost perfect condition for its age minus normal wear and tear.
1918 Waltham Trenchwatch
Diameter: 1 and 1/4 inch
Case: Elgin Watch Company Sterling Silver Case
Production Run: 5,000
Hands: Luminescant Spade Style
Movement: Nickel Finish
Wire Lug Width for Strap: 12mm